If you are using a countersignatory as part of a passport application, the person that you use must:
Have known the applicant for at least two (2) years. The same applies if an adult signed the passport application form for a child under the age of 16.
Be able to identify the person who is applying for the passport. Typical examples include a friend, a work colleague, or a neighbour. It cannot be someone that only knows the applicant in a professional capacity.
Be 'a person of good standing in their community'. They can also be working in (or retired from) a recognised profession (see below).
The person who gives their signature cannot be closely-related to, or have an involvement with, the applicant. So, for example, they must not be:
Related by birth, or by marriage, to the person who is applying.
Be in a relationship with, or live at the same address as, the person who is applying.
Follow UK Rules for 2019 Updates!
Applications made in the United Kingdom
If you make the application in the UK, the countersignatory must be living in the United Kingdom. They must also hold a valid British or Irish passport.
Applying Outside of the United Kingdom
A countersignatory must hold a current British, Irish, or other EU, US, or Commonwealth passport if an application gets made outside the United Kingdom.
What if they have a US, Commonwealth, or non-British or non-Irish EU passport? In this case, you must include a colour photocopy of the page that shows their photograph with your application.
The person you use as a countersignatory must check all the details are correct after you fill in the form. They must then sign your application form. Their signature on the document means they are confirming that:
They have known the applicant for more than two (2) years.
The applicant is who they claim to be.
To the best of their knowledge, all the information that the applicant put on the form is true.
Note: The countersignatory must also insert their passport number on the passport application form.
What a Countersignatory Must Write on the Photograph
Anyone who is acting as a countersignatory should write a statement on the back of one photo. The statement should say:
"I certify that this is a true likeness of [the title and full name of adult or child who is getting the passport]."
The countersignatory must add their signature and the date underneath the statement on the photo. Even so, the applicant does not need to sign or date their own photographs.
If HM Passport Office Contact the Countersignatory
HM Passport Office might contact the countersignatory to get further information. If so, it may delay a passport application if the person is unavailable (e.g. they are taking a vacation).
Accepted Occupations for Passport Countersignatories
If you act as a countersignatory for another person you must either:
Be 'a person of good standing in their community'.
Work in (or be retired from) a recognised profession.
List of Recognised Professions
Typical examples of a recognised profession include:
Articled clerk of a limited company
Assurance agent of recognised company
Bank or building society official
Chairman or director of limited company
Commissioner for oaths
Councillor (e.g. local or county)
Civil servant (permanent)
Director, manager, or personnel officer of a VAT-registered company
Engineer (with professional qualifications)
Financial services intermediary (e.g. a stockbroker or an insurance broker)
Fire service official
Insurance agent (full time) of a recognised company
Justice of the Peace
Legal secretary (fellow or associate member of the Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs)
Licensee of public house
Local government officer
Manager or personnel officer of a limited company
Member, associate, or fellow of a professional body
Member of Parliament
Merchant Navy officer
Minister of a recognised religion (including Christian Science)
Nurse (RGN or RMN)
Officer of the armed services
Paralegal (certified paralegal, qualified paralegal, or associate member of the Institute of Paralegals)
Person with honours (e.g. an OBE or an MBE)
Post Office official
President or secretary of a recognised organisation
Salvation Army officer
Teacher or a lecturer
Trade union officer
Travel agent (qualified)
Valuer or auctioneer (fellows and associate members of the incorporated society)
Warrant Officers and Chief Petty Officers
People Not Accepted as a Countersignatory
Anyone who works for HM Passport Office (HMPO).
A doctor. An exception may apply if they state they know the applicant well and they can recognise them easily from a photo (e.g. good friend).
HM Passport Office will ask you to find an alternative if your countersignatory fails to meet the requirements. You can contact Passport Adviceline if you need help with countersigning passport application forms and photographs.
Telephone: 0300 222 0000
Outside the UK: +44 (0)300 222 0000
Textphone: 18001 0300 222 0222
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm Weekends and public holidays: 9am to 5:30pm
Note: Making a false declaration on a passport application is a criminal offence in the United Kingdom.
Countersigning Passport Applications and Photographs in the United Kingdom